Unfortunately, many unmarried fathers do not understand how important it is to establish paternity. Failing to do so can result in the total loss of parental rights. This means your child can be adopted right out from under you in some cases. Taking the necessary steps to establish your paternity as early as possible is at this time the very best way to protect your parental rights.
With that said, no fathers’ rights case is exactly the same. Sometimes the biological father has not yet experienced the need to establish paternity. Perhaps he and the child’s mother have enjoyed an amicable and cooperative co-parenting style. However, what if the mother suddenly decides to put the child up for adoption and does not inform the father? In legal terms, he has no rights as a father and may not be able to stop the adoption.
Other times, a biological father may not even know about his child’s existence until the adoption is moving forward or has already occurred. Often, birth mothers choose not to identify fathers, even when they know who has fathered their babies. By the time a father learns that he has a child it already too late to do anything.
In Tennessee and elsewhere, the special circumstances discussed above often do not matter in the courts. However, what you can do is take legal action the moment you learn about the pregnancy or about a child already born, even if the adoption is already in progress. While it is impossible to predict the outcome without more detailed information, you stand a better chance of stopping an unwanted adoption by acquiring legal representation.
Source: FindLaw, “Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption,” accessed May 19, 2016